My teenage son and I recently discovered a couple of secrets about each other. I learned that despite his aloofness and quiet demeanor he does indeed seem to care about what goes on in my mind. I had no idea that he read the stories that I share here on my blog until his voice boomed from the den the other night, “I didn’t know that you hid vegetables in our food!” I quickly denied the admission I had made in one of my earlier posts and wrote it off to poetic license. I don’t know if he bought it or not, but I guess I’ll have to start being very careful about what I write as not to embarrass him or give away any parental trade secrets because, as I know now, the opposing team is watching. After I was able to shake off being caught red handed, it occurred to me that he must be one of my silent followers. I’m so flattered, and I want him to know if he’s reading this how much I love him for it. Now, go clean your room!
My son and I don’t relate like we used to. When he was a little guy, he and his older sister would always run to my car instead of their father’s when we were going somewhere separately. I secretly took great comfort in the fact that as much as they loved their father, it was obvious that they just loved me more. This was no less than what I would have expected from people that I sacrificed my firm breasts and tight tummy for. Then, when he was about eight years old a troubling change occurred. Very gradually he started riding with his dad (hey, he didn’t stand outside the Disney store for hours in the freezing UK rain just to score you a Buzz Lightyear buddy). I knew that this was the way it was supposed to be, but I hadn’t prepared myself to lose my baby so soon. Now when we do ride in the car together he often doesn’t say a word except for the occasional “yes or no.” In an effort to change all of that, I tried and failed miserably to play video games with him. I started watching sports with him but sometimes I just couldn’t endure the pain and would have to escape to my bedroom with a good book. Finally, in an effort to be the fun one for a change, I lifted my moratorium on reptiles in my house and allowed him to bring home a collard lizard and all the paraphernalia that goes along with it. He bought an aquarium, sand, caves, hygrometers and thermometers, misters and things for it to climb on. All of this was just fine, and then came the food, crickets and worms. Noisy smelly crickets and big fat juicy worms which bear a suspicious likeness to maggots, in my house, in the hands of a teenage boy. This was the act of a desperate woman.
All was well until about seven months later. While changing the sheets on my son’s bed I looked over and noticed that his lizard was sleeping in a very different position than usual. When he got home from school I asked that he check on Jefe (boss in Espanol, I’m told) and was assured that that was the way he always sleeps, silly woman. Two days later while putting away clothes in his drawers, I noticed that Jefe was still in the same position. As an experiment I poked him with a wooden drumstick only to discover that he was as dead as a door nail. Hey, I may not know much, but I know a dead lizard when I see it. He was respectfully wrapped in a toilet paper shroud, and since the next day was trash day, was gently laid to rest in a place of honor at the top of the trash bin. Rest in peace Jefe.
A couple of weeks later, I reluctantly ok’d the acquisition of a sick baby lizard from the manager at a local pet store. He obviously decided that it stood a better chance with us than in the garbage. My son and I made sure that this cute little guy had only the smallest crickets and the fattest maggots, uh sorry, wax worms, to fatten him up. We read up on sick baby lizards, kept his body at just the right temperature and fed him baby applesauce and bananas. Life was good until he suddenly died on us one afternoon almost three weeks later. We were both heartbroken, but we were heartbroken together. Somehow, quite by accident, we had found our common ground, so I guess the disappointment we experienced at his loss was all worth it.
Shortly thereafter that cute little baby lizard was replaced with the meanest red and black gecko I’ve ever seen. He looks like a Star Wars creature on crack and actually growled when the kid at the pet store pulled him out of his aquarium. I’ll tell you one thing, I won’t get too involved with this one. Of course, I should never say never, because it’s obvious that there’s not much I won’t do to hang out with this wonderful boy.
Since I’ve dedicated this entry to my son it is only fitting that I add a recipe for something that he loves. Like his mom he is a serious snacker so here’s his one of his favorites and the best thing is I guarantee that there are no veggies hidden in it anywhere.
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 -1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 Oreo or chocolate sandwich cookies (or anything else you might find in your pantry that looks like it needs to be fried)
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting cookies
Heat 2 cups cooking oil in a medium size saucepan over medium high heat or if you're lucky like me, fire up your deep fryer.
While the oil is heating, combine the egg, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl; whisk well.
In a medium size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; stir well.
While whisking, pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue whisking until mixture is smooth; transfer to a container with a spout.
Test oil for proper temperature by dropping a spot of the batter into the oil. If it sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready. Dip each cookie into the batter covering completely, gently shaking off excess. Carefully drop into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar before serving.